Wednesday, 26 February 2014
IBRC Mortgage Loan Book
I am answering the Senator's question. I seek the same protection I gave the Senator. The Senator asked two questions, and I will reply to them, if I may. It is important that we do not talk ourselves into an emergency for whatever reasons people might choose to do this for their own ends. In regard to the question referred to in my opening remarks, my understanding is that the position has been set out by the liquidator that an offering has been made in circumstances of on-par mortgages. I understand there are four special tranches within the loan book - performing, non-performing and two other categories that I cannot recall - so that provision has already been made. Again, that has been in the public domain for quite some time and there is nothing particularly new in it. The objective for the State - as the Senator well knows, because she supported Bill, as I did, when it came through both Houses - was to make sure that in so far as these are assets, the State maximises the return. That is the only ambition of the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan. Second, in circumstances where people's homes are on the line, as is the case for this particular mortgage book, the objective is to make sure that we afford the same protections that apply to other mortgage holders through the CCMA.
I greatly welcome that, as the special liquidator told the Senator today in the committee, after two weeks of intensive negotiation, two potential bidders for the next tranches of the loan book have confirmed they will sign up to that. Were that sale to proceed - this is without prejudice until such a time as a sale does proceed - and were any difficulty to arise, the Minister stated last week, Ms Nolan stated today and I now am telling the Senator that the Government will proceed with legislation to ensure those people have the protection both of the code and, second, of the case law in which the High Court has ruled in circumstances where financial institutions have been attempting to move people out of their homes. The case law from the High Court has been clear in respect of obtaining protection for people in a circumstance in which they have been engaging with the bank and have been attempting to work out a solution that is fair and equitable for the purpose of the institution and their own purpose. This is case law, these are precedents and this is precisely what has happened in the Irish High Court by way of all these matters that have come to the attention of the courts. This cannot be set aside either and, consequently, by way of the case law and the voluntary code, the Government hopes the protection will be given to these people because it does not want them to be adversely affected by the sale of the loan book. While everyone accepts the State must of course maximise its take, because there are significant assets left over by way of the liquidation of the IBRC process, it must be done in a way that is fair for all. The approach the Government has taken in this regard is correct and if further action is required, further action will be taken.